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Pleural Tap


  • The procedure is carried out aseptically and takes approximately 30 minutes.
  • The patient lies in the supine position with the upper body raised, either in bed or on an examination table. The sitting position is also an alternative.
  • The skin is cleaned with chlorhexidine 5 mg/ml.
  • The puncture is made where there is optimal access to the fluid.
  • Xylocain 1% is used for local anesthesia without adrenaline.
  • Local anesthesia is injected in all tissue layers of the thoracic wall, especially the parietal pleura.
  • The position of the needle is shown by ultrasound.
  • A small incision is made in the skin and a Secalon or pigtail catheter is inserted into the pleural space. A three-way tap with bag is connected.
  • The fluid can either be tapped passively or aspirated with a syringe from the tapping set.
  • When the tap is concluded, the catheter is removed unless otherwise specified.
  • The puncture point is bandaged.
  • The pleural fluid is sent in a sterile container for bacterial examination and possibly biochemical or immunological examination.

Complications which can occur:

  • Pneumothorax
  • Bleeding
  • Sowing of malignant cells or microbes in the puncture canal (delayed complication)

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